CalCONNECT in Santa Clara County

The following story, featuring an innovative partnership between Heluna Health and the County of Santa Clara Public Health Department, was published in the September 9, 2020 edition of the CalCONNECT stakeholder e-newsletter, hosted by the California Department of Public Health.


Santa Clara successfully adopted the CalCONNECT system and integrated it into their local contact tracing workflow through an emphasis on flexibility and communication.

Background: The Santa Clara Success Story

Santa Clara was one of CalCONNECT’s earliest adopters. Despite the challenges presented by transitioning to an entirely new platform during a global health crisis, Santa Clara has mobilized their large, remote workforce to successfully adopt CalCONNECT by focusing on adaptability and communication.

Adopting the Platform

Santa Clara went live with CalCONNECT at the end of May 2020, rapidly deploying county workers and volunteers to assist in their local COVID-19 response. Prior to CalCONNECT, Santa Clara relied on paper processes paired with CalREDIE, and then transitioned to another software platform for ease of data entry. As both of these systems lacked the county’s desired ability to share records electronically and monitor cases and contacts over time, Santa Clara was eager to adopt CalCONNECT soon after it became available in order to better support their rapidly expanding contact tracing infrastructure.

Volunteers from the local community began pouring in as they heard of Santa Clara’s massive contact tracing workforce expansion efforts. Over 1,000 volunteers signed up in the first few weeks alone and the county worked to onboard an average of 100-150 users to the platform per week.  Santa Clara enrolled staff and volunteers in both the CalCONNECT Platform Training and the Johns Hopkins University contact tracing course, while working with their partner agency, Heluna Health, to manage schedules and workflow. This allowed the county to quickly reach their goal of having over 1,000 people trained to conduct case investigation and contact tracing activities in CalCONNECT.

Staff Structure: Supervisors, Leads, Case Investigators (CI), Contact Tracers (CT)

  • CI/CT Leads ensure all cases are assigned, completed, and referred accordingly each day.
  • 1065 CI/CT staff members focus on logging one call for each case or contact assignment each day with data filled out accurately and completely.
  • Management and oversight are performed by the CI/CT Director followed by a Quality Management Unit and Group Supervisors/Clinicians

Keys to Success

Santa Clara quickly recognized that flexibility and responsiveness throughout the transition process were necessary in order to be successful. As they grew, Santa Clara recognized the need for more training with hands-on activities, and they were grateful to be among the first local health jurisdictions to register staff in the California COVID-19 Virtual Training Academy. This enhanced the training journey for everyone deployed to this effort and benefited both staff and the program.

Santa Clara worked to provide training and information about CalCONNECT early and often to adapt to the platform updates and keep their staff informed and trained on the newest system features and functionality. Since functionality enhancements are constantly being added to CalCONNECT, Santa Clara waits until they have created their own internal policies and procedures to launch a feature locally. After these internal policies are ready, they expand training to Leads and their teams. Santa Clara’s locally developed training packets and immense documentation of workflow and procedures allows all Leads, Case Investigators and Contact Tracers to understand their respective roles on the team, and minimizes back and forth to address minor questions.

Focusing on communication and support were major factors in Santa Clara’s successful adoption of CalCONNECT – with a focus on ensuring staff are checking in regularly with their Leads and that everyone has the tools and resources at hand for success. Santa Clara conducts daily All Hands meetings, which are recorded and posted online for viewing anytime. They also have weekly check-ins with all Leads to answer questions and respond to emerging issues.